Wow, what a year it has been for the tech world. We heard big news from Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and many other companies. Apple had many major headlines, from the maps hoopla to the introductions of the iPhone 5, iPad mini, and iMacs. Regardless of several new products being revealed this year, the question still remains — what will Apple do next? It is one of the reasons the company continues to be interesting, along with breakthrough products. So what can we expect from Apple in 2013? Let’s take a look.
Apple already has your daily life’s computing habits captured through the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. But how about the living room? The company has very little presence there. It currently offers an Apple TV set top box, but it is not a replacement for your cable box. Instead, owners can purchase iTunes content, AirPlay from iOS devices to a big screen TV, and some third-party streaming services like Netflix via the device. I like to think of it as an add on accessory for iOS device owners. So far, this has done very little to revolutionize TV — an industry that’s in need of change. Choosing and purchasing a TV isn’t a simple process, getting the cable content you want is difficult, and using a TV coupled with a cable box is horrendous.
However, I believe Apple can change this by providing a television with Siri voice controls, an iOS operating system for running applications, and a simple way for customers to obtain content. The existing version of the set top box can easily be replaced by something else due to cost, however by offering their own proprietary TV, replacements would be much less as TVs aren’t replaced regularly.
The biggest hurdle the company faces is convincing content providers, however, recent reports have suggested that this is one of the major roadblocks. In addition, Tim Cook has also referred to TV as “an area of intense interest” for Apple, adding: “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years.” Even if we don’t see a TV launch in 2013, I believe we will start to see a lot more about it through leaks. Apple changed the smartphone industry forever with the iPhone in 2007, and they are capable of doing the same to our living rooms with its own TV.
Release cycle changes
This year, a big issue Apple encountered was keeping its products and refresh cycle a secret, especially when it was related to iOS: new iPads in the spring and an iPhone in late summer. Design of the iPhone 5, iPad mini release month, and more leaked. However, the company changed that when the fourth generation iPad was announced, arriving nearly six months after its predecessors. The announcement took everyone by surprise and scattered refresh cycles. In order to tighten up on secrecy, I believe Apple will continue this trend in 2013 by revealing new products during months we are not used to.
iPhone 5S, fifth generation iPad, and second generation iPad mini
Going by previous years and patterns, it would be silly to think Apple wouldn’t release an updated iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini in 2013. The next generation iPhone will probably be called the iPhone 5S because of previous names. iPhone to the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, and now the iPhone 5. My prediction is that the new device will offer incremental improvements to the internal hardware, battery life, and the camera. We may even see NFC finally added, more color choices, and a 128GB iPhone, but I believe the real deal will be what iOS 7 has to offer. Don’t expect the next generation iPhone to be a revolutionary, but instead evolutionary.
Without a doubt, Apple will also release an updated iPad and iPad mini. The fifth generation iPad will offer a complete new design that is much lighter along with better specifications and an edge to edge screen. Rumors have suggested for a March launch, but I don’t buy that. The second generation iPad mini will offer a faster A6X processor, more RAM, and finally a Retina display. I would expect both of these devices to be revealed later in the year.
Siri out of beta
One of the biggest disappointments in a while from Apple has been Siri. Customer satisfaction for the virtual assistant has been mixed and I personally have found it to be very flaky also. Bottom line? A little more than a year after its launch, the company still has a lot of work to do with Siri. In iOS 6, new features were added to Siri, but Google’s competitor Google Now took the spotlight the moment it was released on iOS. Google Now offers answers much faster and more useful results. Also, a lot of apps available in the App Store remove the need for Siri and get the tasks done much quicker.
How can Apple fix this? Add much more functionality to the service, make it faster, and tighter integration with more third-party apps and services. Perhaps they can even provide an API to developers for integrating Siri within their apps. Oh, and if Apple isn’t Google, they will finally remove the “Beta” tag on the virtual assistant.
If Apple does not enter any new market next year, I expect the company to play lots of defense against its competitors Samsung, Google, and Amazon as they continue to eat into markets Apple once dominated. What do you think we’ll see the company reveal in 2013?